I'll be the first to admit that my knowledge of horror cinema beyond the shores of the US isn't that extensive. It's not that I have anything against foreign films, it's just that I haven't seen much; my track record with the Italians is depressingly depressing for someone who's supposed, I assume, to be "well-versed" in horror. But I'm trying, people, I'm trying! Get off my back already, geez. There are only so many hours in a day, you know? Mama does have other things to do.
One film I really dig comes to us courtesy of Lucio Fulci, the goremeister behind the infamous "We are going to eat you!" conquistador zombies (BTdubb, the grossest zombies evar)...House by the Cemetery (1981- that magical year).
I gotta tell ya right off the bat- overall, this movie makes very little sense; shocking, I know. On the surface, it's all good- a family moves from New York City into a large house in Boston...a house by the cemetery!...and all sorts of spooky things happen. People die bloody, Fulci-tastic deaths- it seems there's someone...or something in the basement that likes to kill!
Simple enough, right? Sure. Now wrap that simpleness in a tortilla of psychic abilities, ghosts, weirdo baby sitters, mad scientists, and a fake quote from Henry James that has nothing to do with anything and see how much sense it all makes. As I said, it makes very little sense, but that doesn't mean it's not one tasty burrito!
Okay, I realize that's a horrible analogy but I'm hungry. And the point is, House by the Cemetery doesn't have to make sense to give you the willies. As for me, sometimes I'm terribly easy to please: give me a haunted house with creaking doors, a sealed-off basement, and mysterious noises and I'm sold. There's plenty in the film to give you the creeps: weirdo little girls who appear and disappear from photographs, mannequins and floors that bleed, a large, dark basement, and the voices of crying children to name but a few willies-inducers.
As this is a Lucio Fulci film, there is plenty of gore on display- there's beaucoup de stab-stab, ample blood and body parts strewn about, and the longer it goes on, the grosser it gets. 'Tis a true hoot, my friends.
I'm not going to give away the secrets of Dr Freudstein (gotta love that name), the former owner of the house, but I will say I'd be surprised if Rob Zombie didn't draw at least a little inspiration from this film- House of 1000 Corpses by the Cemetery, anyone?
Sometimes, you just gotta go with it. Pop in the movie, turn off the lights- and your brain- and enjoy the ride. Kind of like when you get a bean burrito at Taco Bell; don't think about it- just let it be, man.
What? I'm still hungry.